U.S. Transportation Safety Board: Tesla and Apple ignore driver safety

BEIJING, Feb. 26 (Xinhua) — The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) criticized Tesla at a hearing on Tuesday, saying the company had failed to prevent the wrong use of Autopilot’s advanced driver assistance system, which can sometimes have fatal consequences, according tomedia reports. Autopilot is currently standard for Tesla electric vehicles.

U.S. Transportation Safety Board: Tesla and Apple ignore driver safety

The NTSB’s comments were in response to a fatal car crash near Mountain View, California, in 2018, when Walter Huang, an Apple engineer and game developer, was driving the Autopilot Model X, which had been turned on. Huang Weilun was killed in a car accident while using the game app on a company-equipped mobile device.

The NTSB said that while Mr. Huang was distracted in his driving, Tesla’s forward collision warning system did not provide an early warning and its automatic emergency braking system was not activated, resulting in Mr. Huang’s Model X SUV, which had been turned on, accelerating into a highway barrier.

Bruce Landsberg, vice president of the NTSB, told the hearing that Tesla’s autopilot system was “not fully developed.” Autosteer is a beta version of Autopilot designed to keep the Model X in the right lane at high speeds.

NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt warned drivers, “If you have a partially self-driving car, it’s not self-driving.” So don’t pretend to be driving a self-driving car. “

Samwater also said his office approached six automakers in 2017 to make recommendations to improve the safety of its semi-autonomous driving systems. Five of them responded to the NTSB’s recommendations, agreeing to some improvements, he said, “and sadly, one manufacturer ignored our proposal, which was Tesla.” “

The NTSB investigates vehicle accidents and makes safety recommendations, and typically requires automakers to respond to their recommendations within 90 days. But Tesla has been receiving the NTSB’s recommendation sits for 881 days, but has yet to respond.

In addition, Samwater’s office wants Tesla to improve its driver engagement monitoring system. Tesla relies heavily on a system that senses drivers’ hands on the steering wheel to determine whether they are focused when using autopilot. Other carmakers use cameras to determine whether a driver’s eyes are fixed on the road ahead.

The NTSB also accused Mr. Huang’s employer, Apple, of failing to establish strict policies to prevent employees from using mobile devices while driving in non-emergency situations. “We want our employees to comply with the law,” Apple said in an interview with CNBC. “

After upgrading the iOS 11 system, the iPhone can tell when a user is driving and then turn off distracting notifications.

The NTSB wants all large companies to have strict policies that prohibit employees from using personal electronic devices while driving. For reasons of privilege, the NTSB can only investigate accidents and make safety recommendations, and only NHTSA, a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation, has the right to order the recall of models, components, or systems that it deems defective and unsafe.

Tesla has not immediately commented on the latest news. Tesla shares plunged more than 4 percent in intraday trading Tuesday as the NTSB criticized autopilot and the spread of the new corona pneumonia epidemic added to market panic.